I recently succumbed to netflix, on the grounds that it is more efficient than any other way to see some movies that I want to catch up on -- this includes all other legal and semi-legal avenues that one has open to one. It works quite well, although I had to do a small amount of hacking to get it to operate in exactly the way I want. I decided that I will aim to watch about one movie per week, and although I'd like to control the set of films sent to me, I'd like to absolve myself from controlling the order. The problem is that if I pick the order, then I'll never get round to seeing some films, because I'll keep putting them off. So I decided to randomize the order of arrival. This turns out not to be an option directly, but there's a handy greasemonkey script which will do precisely this. Next, to make it more fun, I decided to ensure that I don't know what the film will be until it starts playing. This requires various steps: not opening the film envelope until it is time to watch (and even closing one's eyes while putting it in the machine); diverting email notifications of which film is next into an account that I rarely check, and which does not generate any new mail notifications; and not checking the status of the queue of films, etc.
I just completed the first completely successful instantiation of this protocol, and it worked reasonably well. I had no idea, until the movie started playing, that the film that arrived last year was... Man of the Year. An interesting premise, let down by excessive focus on the b-plot, which entirely dominated (and therefore made less interesting) almost the entirety of the second hour. Also, if you watch the trailer, you get almost all of the good bits, which is disappointing. I wonder what next week will bring?